This is a discussion taken from SCCO’s Facebook Group for Pre-optometry Students:
Question: I have a question regarding scheduling an appointment to take the OAT exam. I read the ASCO OAT Guide and just wanted to get clarification on how long this process actually takes. First we apply to take the exam via the OAT Electronic Application. After receiving confirmation from the Prometric Testing Center, we will have to call in to schedule a testing date. How long does it take to get approval to take the OAT’s and what are estimates of testing dates? Can people take the OAT’s at relatively ANY time within the 12-month approved window? As for a more preparation-based question, how long did you (for those who have taken it) or will you study prior to the exam? My friend who just took his said he studied for a solid 3 months before taking the exam. So I plan to study this summer and take them at the end of September or beginning of October.
Answer #1: I ‘m finishing up with the Kaplan course now which lasts for about a month and a half…I will be taking my Exam at the end of August…so my study time-line will be a total of 3 1/2 months.
Answer #2: It only took me a day to get the confirmation email from the Prometric Testing Center after making my request. And I scheduled my test online.
Answer #3: I am planning to take the OATs soon and I’ve been studying primarily off MCAT study materials. The MCAT study books have a lot of physiology & anatomy materials, and do we have to know that portion for the test? If we do, how much in detail should we study for it?
I am currently not working or going to school, and I plan on studying for the OATs every day until it is time to take the test. I’ve been slowly prepping since the beginning of the year, but couldn’t really study hard core until 2 weeks ago. I plan to do this for a month and then take a couple days of rest to take the test.
Answer #4: I studied off MCAT books a lot! I actually found the big Kaplan OAT book to be so full of material that I couldn’t digest it all.
I took my OAT yesterday. There were a few anatomy questions on the test, but they were easy and stuff I remembered from college. A lot of other people told me to know the path of blood flow. I didn’t see that on my test personally…but you may. I wouldn’t worry about getting too specific.
I too was slowly prepping and then worked hard the past 2-3 months. I made a schedule of the chapters that I would read every day so I didn’t get overwhelmed and I did TONS of practice tests. Then after taking a test, I would review my wrong answers, then go back to my books to review the topic.
Also, for the test, I recommend bringing ear plugs (they allow this). The headphones they have gave me a headache and were annoying. www.Studentdoctor.net has forums where people take specifically about the OAT. Check it out.
Answer #5: I’m not endorsing this method for OAT prep, but FYI: www.flashcardsecrets.com/oat
Answer #6: Once you register for the OAT, you should receive an OAT eligibility letter in your email. Mine came 2 days after I registered for the test, so it should be pretty quick. Once you have this eligibility letter, you can go on https://www.prometric.com/en-us/clients/oat/Pages/landing.aspx to sign up for the test and pick a testing center near where you live.
You can pretty much sign up for any day as long as there are still spaces open for the testing center you choose. You can sign up for a test date before you finish studying, but I would suggest picking a test date that gives you enough time to study. You’re allowed to reschedule the test within a year of the 1st test date you’ve chosen for a fee of $25 and you need to give them at least a 48-hour notice (if I remember correctly).
I’m unsure how many times you can reschedule the test, but my friend tried to reschedule her test for a second time and the Prometric website wouldn’t let her for some reason or another. Hopefully this is helpful~ Let me know if you have any questions.
Answer #7: I just wanted to share: through Prometric, I learned that the 48-hr rescheduling policy (although not explicitly written) is actually 2 business days prior to the exam date– not an actual 48-hr period–and they are not available for support on the weekends.